Upgrading Your Body and Mind With Training and Technology

[Home] [Archive] [Videos] [Web Apps] [Store] [About]

The Biomatrix.Net

Bodybuilding for Martial Arts

Bodybuilding for Martial Arts


I used to go to Tai Chi and get slightly annoyed when my instructor told me I wouldn't get good at Tai Chi if I carried on pumping iron. I wouldn't be able to 'react like water' if my muscles were bigger was the suggestion, and I was physically incapable of relaxing my traps so how was I going to be able to practice moving meditation?

Today I put this down to envy. The Tai Chi teacher was a skinny hippy, and in retrospect I should probably have strangled him. You see while there may be merit to being soft like water, being more built would actually only afford me more muscle control and so increase my ability to react. At the same time it would mean though that when it was time to kick back, I could kick back hard.

Bruce Lee understood the value of bodybuilding in martial arts and very few people are going to argue with that guy on the topic of punching things. Martial Arts involves using powerful bursts of force, and so of course having powerful muscles is going to help. It's just that unfortunately martial arts is also full of bureaucrats who don't like to admit when someone is stronger than them.

Want to kick ass even when you're fighting your legendary grandmaster (who looks like he's currently already fighting a losing battle with the Grim Reaper)? Follow the training advice below.

Which Muscles Are Used in Fighting?

First you need to know which muscles are used in fighting. The answer is that all of them are used in fighting, but some in particular get a lot of action. For instance those muscles used for punching are very regularly used in martial arts, and those are – the triceps, the deltoids, the pecs and the traps in the arm, and the abs, obliques and leg muscles. This is something that is often overlooked in martial arts training – but it's important to remember that the main thrust of your power should come from twisting the hip and pushing off of the foot in almost any martial art.

There is also contention when it comes to the biceps. Many individuals claim here that the biceps are actually not useful in martial arts and that they are in fact likely to slow you down and reduce the power in your punches – because they pull against your fists as you punch forward. However what these sweeping statements forget is that pulling the hand back in again is highly important in martial arts – any Wada Ryu Ka knows that there's is a very real danger of having your arm grabbed in martial arts.

At the same time the bicep is also useful in several other martial arts moves – and most notably in the headlock, where squeezing the bicep just slightly can restrict air to the throat and give you a 30 second KO. So really don't sacrifice the muscles...

So What Do You Focus On?

So the conclusion is that every muscle is important in martial arts – and the stronger you are and the more powerful you are in every aspect the more efficient you will be when it comes to fighting.

However that doesn't meant that there is no strategy when it comes to martial arts training. And while you should make sure you train every muscle individually, you should also try to make sure you get some specific training methods in too. Check below:

Plyometric Training: Plyometric training means explosive training for your fast-twitch muscle fibres. These are the fibres that are involved in explosive sudden bursts of power – those used when jumping or punching. To train these you simply need to use explosive movements in your training and that means things like clapping press ups or box jumps. Do enough of this and you will make sure that you remain like a coiled spring full of power.

Added Resistance: The best way to train the muscles you need for martial arts? Do martial arts. But if you want to make those muscles get larger at a good pace, then you also need to make sure that you add extra resistance so that you are training tougher than you would be if just going through the movements. There are several ways to do this – performing punches in deep water for instance, or with a resistance band gripped in your fist. For your legs something like kicking with weighted ankles will do the trick.

Flexibility Training: While it's important to build muscle in martial arts, and while I'm annoyed at douche 'masters' who claim otherwise, there are some areas for concern that you need to address. Most notably you need to make sure that you don't too drastically reduce your flexibility. To make sure you don't, you should supplement your bodybuilding with specific flexibility training, you should train for strength more than size, and you should train through an extended range of movement – for instance using press up stands to do press ups lower than the floor so that your muscles are long and not short and thereby restricted in their range of movement.

Grip and Push: Gripping and pushing strength are highly useful and underrated in martial arts. You want to be able to grab someone's wrist and make it feel like a vice. Likewise you want to be able to push someone and send them flying across the room. There are articles on this site already about how to train your grip and your pushing strength – so go find them!

The-Biomatrix.Net Copyright 2013 NQR Productions TM and Adam Sinicki